Purmerend history

Purmerend owes its name to the fact that it is situated at the end of the Purmer Lake. This once small trading settlement became a flourishing town in the 15th century. Its major sources of income were fishing and shipping. In 1434, Purmerend received its town charter. Purmerend once boasted two convents, of which St. Ursula was the most famous. This convent was located on what is now known as the Koemarkt. Unfortunately, neither of the convents exists today. In 1572, the Sea Beggars defeated the Spanish and the nuns were driven away. It is also unfortunate that Slot Purmersteijn, a fifteenth century castle, can no longer be admired today. It was demolished in 1741 after it fell into ruin.

Historic ‘Slot Purmersteijn’

Not all of the historical buildings in and around Purmerend have been preserved. Regrettably, Slot Purmersteijn, which was built in 1410, can no longer be admired. This castle has, however, remained a symbol of an important piece of Purmerend’s history. It was built when the small farming village of Purmer grew into a larger settlement where traders and fishermen lived. In the 15th century, not only was the region threatened by the sea, it also had to contend with a great many plunderers. Count Willem VI was Lord and Master in Waterland at that time, and his treasurer, Willem Eggert, was responsible for maintaining order in that area. In 1410, he began to build a castle on the place where the road between Amsterdam and Hoorn crossed the river. It would take him 3 years to complete.  Willem Eggert died in 1417, and, following his death, twelve lords received the manorial rights to Purmerend on loan. These owners were not often seen at the castle. Purmersteijn was not so much used as a home, but rather as a centre for governance and jurisdiction. The last Lord of Purmersteijn was Philips van Egmond whose possessions were confiscated. Thus, in 1579, the States of Holland became the owners of Purmersteijn and the castle became a place for meetings and receptions. Unfortunately, in the eighteenth century, Holland was reduced to poverty and maintenance on the castle was no longer carried out. Purmersteijn fell into disrepair. In 1729, the States of Holland declared the castle uninhabitable and donated it to Purmerend. Twelve years later, the municipal authorities decided to demolish Purmesteijn. Although it may no longer be possible to visit the castle, its existence will always remain part of the history of present-day Purmerend.